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Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Brian Josephson
Skeptical Inquirer
infinite-energy.com
Luciano Floridi (pdf)
Maxwell Rainforth
The Observer

Robert Park

Voodoo Science

Science plays a huge role in our lives today. Unfortunately this can lead to things being dressed up as science which don't deserve the name. This can happen in several different ways, but Robert Park has introduced the term Voodoo Science to cover all such occurences. In this book he looks at devices which their inventors claim can provide free energy (including cold fusion), at the success of alternative medicine, and at why claims such as the link between EMF and cancer don't go away despite a lack of supporting evidence. He also discusses why people have a tendency to believe in such claims.

Park's grouping together of such a wide range of topics into the book does lead to the problem that some of those included are things which Park thinks to be unnecessary and expensive use of resources, such as manned space travel, rather than being bad science as such. I couldn't help feeling that the book would be better if Park had concentrated on what he is good at, which is going into the details of pseudoscientific claims. In particular he shows how even after something has clearly been shown to be nonsense, it have a tendency to pop up again in the media within a few years as revolutionary and new.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0195147103
Salesrank: 395997
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2001 Oxford University Press
Amazon price $15.10
Marketplace:New from $8.50:Used from $0.99
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0198604432
Salesrank: 1345156
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2003 O.U.P. Oxford
Amazon price £28.49
Marketplace:New from £25.68:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0195147103
Salesrank: 480253
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2001 Oxford University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 11.65
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 11.65:Used from CDN$ 0.73
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Product Description
In a time of dazzling scientific progress, how can we separate genuine breakthroughs from the noisy gaggle of false claims? From Deepak Chopra's "quantum alternative to growing old" to unwarranted hype surrounding the International Space Station, Robert Park leads us down the back alleys of fringe science, through the gleaming corridors of Washington power and even into our evolutionary past to search out the origins of voodoo science. Along the way, he offers simple and engaging science lessons, proving that you don't have to be a scientist to spot the fraudulent science that swirls around us.
While remaining highly humorous, this hard-hitting account also tallies the cost: the billions spent on worthless therapies, the tax dollars squandered on government projects that are doomed to fail, the investors bilked by schemes that violate the most fundamental laws of nature. But the greatest cost is human: fear of imaginary dangers, reliance on magical cures, and above all, a mistaken view of how the world works.
To expose the forces that sustain voodoo science, Park examines the role of the media, the courts, bureaucrats and politicians, as well as the scientific community. Scientists argue that the cure is to raise general scientific literacy. But what exactly should a scientifically literate society know? Park argues that the public does not need a specific knowledge of science so much as a scientific world view--an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented.